By D.P.J.

Even now I am not prepared to state my name, although three on-line Christian counselling ministries including Museltof Christian Ministries (who have helped me so much), are aware of it.

I originally went to a Presbyterian church, but it was liberal and I never really learned anything about the word of God there; it was all just about being nice to people, all pleasant teachings, but rarely too much directly from the Bible. The people who went there were quite well-off and comfortable and they did not want anything which would shake them out of their comfortable and easy-going lifestyle. How many were really converted? I just don't know, but perhaps about 30 or 40% - but it can only be an estimation.

When I met my girl friend (we are now happily married, despite everything which has happened to us), she was already attending a charismatic church - I cannot identify it, or the American town where we used to live. It did not take too long for me to leave my liberal church and join my girl friend in her very lively and enjoyable church where the people all seemed to have a relationship with God (but I have now learned not to be so impressionable and easily taken in by religious sounding words and shows of sincerity).

In our congregation, people like Kenneth Hagin and Kenneth Copeland were revered. I knew nothing about these people when I started going to the new place. But I was amazed at the things which we were taught, and I soon came to believe that these people were true men and women of God; the difference from my former Presbyterian church was staggering. We were taught that we should all expect personal intervention from God whenever we prayed - if we did not get it, we lacked "faith". We just needed to take complete confidence in our own words - to me, this was wonderfully simple, and we could all tap into it. My former minister didn't seem to think that God was answering prayers any more - WOW! THIS WAS A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE!!

We were taught that just as God had confidence in his words, so should we. God said, "Let there be light", but where would we be today, if He had not believed His own words?? I now know that this is simplistic nonsense and anyway, we are not God! This is called the 'Positive Confession' teaching. Looking back, our church seemed to teach that faith is about positively saying and doing things, and thats it. I now know that we must respect Gods sovereignty; MAYBE THE ANSWER TO OUR PRAYER IS GOING TO BE "NO" HOWEVER "POSITIVE" WE MAY BE!!

Anyway, my girl friend (I will call her Jane from now on; but its not her real name), and myself swallowed this teaching for around 5 years, but it was Jane who started having doubts about it before I did. I thought she was being very disloyal when she started to be critical of our minister ('Pastor Pete' from now on, though Peter was not his real name), for stressing money and "giving"; Jane said when he talked about "giving", he was really talking about "Getting", especially since the money was going in his direction! This seemed to dawn on her quite suddenly, because she had previous been very loyal to our church leaders.

We were part of a wider group of churches and we would all occasionally meet up; THEIR PASTORS AND THEIR FAMILIES ALL LIVED IN ABSOLUTE LUXURY WHILE MANY MEMBERS STRUGGLED - JUST AS JANE AND I WERE STRUGGLING. But if you were struggling whether it was about money or anything else, the teaching was that it was your own fault. Yes, we swallowed this for a few years, but Jane's doubts started to spread to me as well. Jane had the closest relations with God that I had ever seen in anybody, her prayer life was important to her. She had also graduated from college with a good grade (I never finished college), and I admired her intelligence and general good sense. She is now my wife of course, and I still say she is the finest Christian I ever met! So she was going to influence me anyway, but when she started to go back through the Bible readings which had been used by our preachers, I could clearly see what she was explaining to me, and where they were wrong.

Jane now says that her eyes were opened when she read a book about Paul the Apostle, and how his life was one constant struggle and series of trials. I remember her reading the book and how she was quieter than usual for a few weeks after reading it. If Paul struggled that way, it would have been because he lacked faith, according to the reasoning of Pastor Pete. Then I noticed that our pastor was impatient with illness and sickness; he was also impatient with most trials which affected Christians, this is because the teachings we were receiving amounted to the 'health and prosperity teaching' which really means that believers should not have trials if they are obedient.

Things reached a peak when my Mother became very ill. I made a 'positive confession' type prayer for her, followed by many other prayers, but she died anyway, so did three members of our church around the same time. Was God starting to open my eyes? Could it just be that it was Gods will and time for them to die? Haven't all the greats of the Bible finally died when their alloted times arrived? Why should we be any different?

Finally, with Janes enthusiastic support, I arranged a private meeting with Pastor Pete. We had worked our objections and problems with our church leaders down to three points, which I wanted to discuss. I was very respectful when the meeting took place, and I must admit that I was nervous. But I WAS BLOWN OUT!! Maybe our pastor sensed something was up, because there were two other leading members there at the meeting. No attempt was made to answer even one of the issues which I raised, but I was subjected to yelling and personal abuse; I WOULD LIKE TO MAKE IT PLAIN HOW MUCH THIS SHOCKED ME! AFTER ALL, WERENT THESE "MEN OF GOD"???
But incredible though it might seem to some, things got even worse; Pastor Pete told me that his "anointing" was directly from God and if I did not trust him, IT WAS IN HIS POWER TO CALL "CURSES" DOWN ON ME!!! I took this as a threat and, to be frank, I WAS AFRAID! He also cited other 'examples' of how "Christian leaders" (his words), had cursed rebels in their congregations (Jane later tried to substantiate these stories but with no success).
I was now to be "barred" for our church until I showed clear signs of repentance. Let me again stress, that the points which I wanted to raise were just dismissed without comment. Apparently the "real problem" was me and my rebellious attitude (curiously, Jane who was not present at the meeting, was never mentioned).

BUT IT SUDDENLY OCCURRED TO ME THAT CALLING CURSES DOWN ON PEOPLE IS WHAT WITCHES DO!! Just as that thought flashed through my mind, I looked at our "pastor" whose face had turned purple with anger, and his real loud yelling seemed to me demonic!!

When I later told Jane about my "discussion" with the church leaders, she was greatly disappointed, but not totally surprised. We spoke about the matter for an hour and decided never to return to that church, but to seek a more Godly place to worship.

Three weeks later Pastor Pete rang me unexpectedly, I started to shiver when I heard his voice on the telephone. Some folks may say, "Why would you be so scared, when you are such a big guy?" But there is no doubting that our pastor did have some kind of spiritual power of some sort and it was frightening! He was not some cosy, warm loving kind of pastor, but he had a presence - small guy or not - which could instill fear and respect; I now know that some very wicked people in world history had the same sort of "presence". When he rang, at first he was calm, but when I told him of our decision never to return, the abuse started again and he again threatened curses, this time he clearly said that he could bring an early end to my life, if he wanted to.
He then warned me not to discuss the matter with others, but (surprised at my own boldness), I refused to agree with his request.

Later, Jane and myself brought some matters about our Pastor to the attention of our local police, including the threats. But what really hurt us what that nobody from that congregation would speak to us any longer, nor listen to our side of the story. Since the town was a small one, we decided to leave.

We are now married with a little boy and live in another state and we are very, very happy. Things have come full circle for me as I again go to a Presbyterian church (as I originally did), but this is an evangelical Bible-teaching church where we feel really at home. My career too has now taken off and life is pleasant.

I said the names of some prosperity teachers early on in this writing, I want to make it plain that they have no responsibility in the death and curse threats which we received, they purely came from our pastor. But it is their teachings which can cause some folks to behave this way. We have now learned that other prosperity and positive confession guys have warned others about their "anointing" and what can happen to those who oppose them!!

But Jesus said this,
'Jesus called them together and said, "You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many."
(Mark 10:42-45)

We are happy for this account of our experiences to be placed on Accent on the Word with its concern to expose false teachers.




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